Sergeant King’s Journal – Entry Date January 23, 2391: “I feel that this will be my last entry. Humanity is dying and the destruction of the Panda Empire is unyielding. My operations are failing, my soldiers are dying, and I am running out of time. It won’t be long until humanity falls and the pandas eradicate us all. I wish I could bring better news, but that just isn’t the circumstance. I only ask one thing…If anyone finds this entry, hear my words…the pandas can’t win! THE PANDAS CAN’T WIN!”.
Feral Fury is a RogueLite, top-down shmup developed and published by the folks at Skandivania Games. It tells a story of a band of marines in the Great Panda Empire scouring planets throughout the galaxy to become the dominant powerhouse throughout the races. Humankind has been long dead and the likes of panda and mutant pig humanoids run the universe. You take control of one of the marines on missions to clear out bases and defeat bosses to capture the planet. With old homeworlds being destroyed, the Great Panda Empire is in endless need for bamboo and every resource is needed. You must stop at nothing until victory is in your grasps and every planet is yours.
The game mechanics of Feral Fury is extremely nostalgic and is reminiscent of old-school shmups like Smash TV. You control a marine and go room to room defeating robots, bugs, and malevolent bad guys, collecting loot and trying to stay alive to make it to the next room. The game contains fifteen randomly generated stages that split into five different chapters. Each run of the game, you start at stage one with no gear and you maneuver throughout the level looking for orbs, guns, and other unique power-ups to help you on your quest. Now the RogueLite nature has both a blessing and a crux. You remember those cool orbs that I mentioned? They are one of the two currencies in the game. Orbs carry over between playthroughs while the other, coins, are specific to your current playthrough. The orbs are used to buy permanent upgrades to make the game a bit easier. Whether you want that cool new assault rifle to start with a bigger arsenal or you need some keys to make sure there are no closed doors, there is an upgrade to fit your special need. Even better, each upgrade is purchasable and stacks from run to run. So, if you play long enough, you can start as the supreme badass to complete your ultimate warpath.
The coins, on the other hand, can be used for a variety of tasks. Whether you are closing a wishing well, interacting with a vending machine, or stopping by the local shopkeep, there is a variety of ways to spend the dough. Now, the vending machine and the shops have the same purpose and they are what you would expect. Go to the vending machine and you are given health or ammo for a set number of coins and rinse and repeat for the merchants. The wishing wells are a cool concept that I felt was done extremely well. If you get lucky, one random room will be completely empty except for a hole in the middle of the room. Walking up to the hole will proceed your marine to throw a coin into the hole. Once the well receives the perfect amount of those shiny pieces of cha-ching, it will close and you will be given a random curse or blessing. These curses, as they are almost always curses, are unique effects that will ‘curse’ you for the rest of your run. It can be as harmless as slippery floors or as deadly as bouncing bullets or more explosives.
While the main mode was pretty cool, I didn’t have as much fun in it as I did in the Daily Run Mode. The Daily Run Mode puts you in the hands of a marine, similar to the base game, but you get three random items and one curse. These items are usually pretty high tier and make the game really fun and intense. The leaderboard functionality makes a single-player game highly competitive and scoring higher than your friends just provides such a satisfying feeling. However, getting a nice high score takes patience and precision as this mode is really difficult and one wrong move can destroy your run.
The visuals and soundtrack of Feral Fury tried to pay homage to the old school style of shmups and succeeded pretty well. However, neither of them were anything worth fixating on. The ambient noise was very intense and contributed to the factor that once you die, it is all over, but I couldn’t find myself being really intrigued by the majority of the sounds.
I was really enjoying my time with Feral Fury when I first received it. I was playing it on Easy and running through the areas, killing bad guys and collecting orbs (you know…like you do!). I beat the first three stages and got to the boss level and ran into something unthinkable…there was no boss. In the place of the boss was three enemies that do not attack and provide you with health and ammo. This throws me around the loop and I was not expecting it, but I felt it was a great addition for members trying to get into this game without having to experience much difficulty. Even on normal difficulty, this game can be pretty difficult and until you start getting some of your good gear, so know that you will be restarting a lot. The easy mode is touted as ‘butterflies and rainbows’ and it is a great introduction for anyone who doesn’t have much experience with shmups or RogueLite features.
I really enjoyed my time with this game, but I got plagued with the one that destroys video games more than anything else…endless crashing. About a week after playing this game, I started Feral Fury up and started playing the Daily Run, something I had done every day up to that point. I was playing through the first stage, go to the teleporter and was heading to the second one. During the loading screen, I got kicked out to the Dashboard. I was instantly hit with a feeling of shock as it had not happened to me before. I loaded the game back up and got to the same location in the game and it did it again. I have loaded the game up five or six more times after this point, but it was to no avail. I could not get the game to play more than five minutes without it crashing. I tried deleting the game and re-installing, deleting save data, and other methods to fix the issue and nothing had fixed it. I wish this had not happened to me because it just made the game utterly unplayable.
In the end, Feral Fury wasn’t the best game I had ever played, but it was a fun premise that the developers did really well. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this game when it constantly crashes. Once the issue is fixed and the game goes on sale, go ahead and pick yourself up a copy of this. It provides a nostalgic feel mixed with modern-day standards.
*Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of the review
Final sCore: 4.5/10
On a recent update of Feral Fury, Skandivania Games fixed a variety of issues that I was experience during my playthrough of the game. While the game use to crash almost every two to three minutes before this update, now I was able to play around 45 minutes to an hour without crashing. This was amazing for me as I truly enjoyed the game and was wishing that I got a chance to actually play the game. This additional hour of gameplay provided me the knowledge that the game was not going to crash again like it did before. I know stress that I would recommend this game for most people that enjoy the RogueLite genre and I am glad that these developers took the time to fix issues that were affecting their intriguing title. I really appreciate it and I hope you are able to enjoy this title as I did.
Updated Final Score: 7.5/10
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